LES of large wind farm during a diurnal cycle: Analysis of Energy and Scalar flux budgets

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Varun Sharma1, Marc Calaf2 and Marc B Parlange1,3, (1)EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, (2)University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, (3)University of British Columbia, Civil Engineering, Vancouver, BC, Canada
With an expanding role of wind energy in satisfying energy demands around the world, wind farms are covering increasingly larger surfaces to the point where interaction between wind farms and the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) might have significant implications. Furthermore, many wind farm sites lie over existing farmland for which water is a precious resource. In this context, a relevant question yet to be fully understood, is whether large wind farms alter near surface temperatures and evaporation rates and if so, by how much.

 In the present study, Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of a geostrophic wind driven ABL with two active scalars, temperature and specific humidity, in the presence of Coriolis forces with an embedded wind farm are performed. Multiple ‘synthetic’ diurnal cycles are simulated by imposing a time-varying surface temperature and specific humidity. Wind turbines are modeled using the “actuator disk” approach along with the flexibility to reorient according to varying flow directions. LES is performed using the “pseudo-spectral” approach implying that an infinitely large wind farm is simulated.

 Comparison of simulations with and without wind farms show clear differences in vertical profiles of horizontal velocity magnitude and direction, turbulent kinetic energy and scalar fluxes. To better understand these differences, a detailed analysis of the constituent terms of budget equations of mean and turbulent kinetic energy and sensible and latent heat fluxes has been performed for different stratification regimes as the ABL evolves during the diurnal cycle. The analyses help explain the effect of wind farms on the characteristics of the low-level jet, depth of the stable boundary layer, formation and growth of the convective boundary layer (CBL) and scalar fluxes at the surface.